The quaking Aspen tree is one of the unique features of the Rocky Mountain landscape. Its white bark and delicate leaves are a beautiful contrast to the deep green evergreens and pines you will find living right alongside a huge Aspen grove.
A popular wedding cake platter found today is the tree trunk cake base; both my daughter and I love the look of it but again wanted a Colorado touch. Soooooo, I looked high and low to find an Aspen wedding cake base, to no avail. However, I could find birch.....which is a cousin of the Aspen, sharing the same white bark and dark brown markings. Eureka!
Not so fast......the baker I found who will be making the cake (chocolate with raspberry filling and buttercream frosting-Yum!), requested a 16" base so that we would have a 2" border all around the base of the bottom tier. Now consider, a 16" base is an extremely large tree! The vendors you will find on-line selling bases generally use already fallen trees; most offer 10-12" bases.
Onto the next DIY.........................
Step One -
Purchase two pieces of 8x10 inch birch bark from www.save-on-crafts.com
Purchase 16" round plywood disks at Lowe's; based upon the height we wanted, we purchased four. Those were glued together one on top of the other by the trusty husband, using the trusty Elmer's wood glue. One side was sanded and varnished for a beautiful finish (obviously, this would become the top).
When we received the bark, it had dried with a natural curl opposite of how it would grow on the tree; in other words, it was curling in on itself. In order for us to glue the pieces to the disks, we needed to reverse the curl. We soaked the bark in a bucket of water overnight to make them more pliable. When removed from the water, they were trimmed slightly larger than finished width of the base and clamped to the inside of a bucket; the right side facing the bucket. The intent was for the dried pieces to have the more natural curve for easier adhering. Clever huh? ..... by-the-way, it worked well!
Step Four -
Use the glue gun and begin adhering the bark to the base; pressing firmly as you continue all the way around the base.
Step Five -
What to do about the seams? This step reminded me of the taping a professional drywaller uses to cover the seams of the dry wall pieces prior to painting/texturing the wall. What I chose to use was white paper, Mod Podge and some paint (I have lots of craft paint on hand, so I used off white, grey, dark brown, along with some blended variation of those colors). The paper I used was a more natural paper; meaning it had fibers running through it (I found it in the scrap book papers at Hobby Lobby). I tore the pieces to make a ragged edge and purposely made the strip uneven to make it more natural when I glued it down with the Mod Podge. Then I used the paints and a small paint brush and painted over the paper to blend with the bark itself. It looks great, if I do say so myself.
So there you have it.... a 16" birch base cake platter. I can't wait to see it with the beautiful wedding cake on top of it!